Diversity

Awesome Asian Bad Guys

“This ends now!”

So this is a pretty fun project. Filmmakers Stephen Dypiangco and Patrick Epino are raising funds to produce a web series starring some classic Asian Bad Guys from 80s and 90s action films. I think it’s a fun way to feature Asian characters who never got the screen time they deserved. Also, villains tend to be more interesting than heroes anyway.

Thanks to Jonathan ‘Bongo’ Budisantoso for sending this my way!

From: Awesome Asian Bad Guys

Amazing Spider-Man is a Worthy Reboot

I was among the first to decry the reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise. The disappointing memory of Spider-Man 3 had yet to fade and already they were announcing a new direction. When the first photos of the actual suit, my disdain only deepened.

And then the previews started trickling out and my interest was piqued. What was this about Peter’s parents? That’s an angle that hasn’t been explored properly in any of the movies, the cartoons, the games, or even the comics. Could this new take on Spider-Man actually be something actually new? By the time I saw the first full trailer in a theater, I was ready to be amazed. My nerd rage was quelled and on July 3, there I was in a crowded theater waiting for that familiar MARVEL title crawl to fill my vision.

Before I drop into spoiler territory, I want to say now that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I think it’s more deep than the Raimi Spider Trilogy. However, I can’t deny that without the first Spider-Man flick, this one would not have been possible. I really believe that Raimi’s first Spider-Man helped usher in a new era of comic book flicks that has been, for the most part, quite awesome for us comic book nerds. So I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. That said, I preferred this new take on Spider-Man.

Andrew Garfield’s performance as Peter Parker is more believable and honest than Toby Maguire’s. Emma Stone is stunning as Gwen and the chemistry between her and Garfield is magical. They’re a stronger couple that Maguire or Dunst ever were through three films. I hope they continue with the franchise and diverge from the comics because I don’t think I could take seeing Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy die. Though I know it’s doomed from the start, I just want to see them make it so badly. I never felt this strongly about Pete and MJ from the previous trilogy. I would watch a romcom with Garfield and Stone. I wouldn’t with Maguire and Dunst.

I could go on and on and on about how Garfield and Stone and how perfect they are together, but I’ll save you the vomit inducing love letter. Instead, let’s discuss some of the more spoilery points of the film and my one big problem with it that prevents me from calling it the BEST SUPER HERO FLICK EVAR!

Spoilery discussion below:

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The Racist Games?

Never expected to be talking about The Hunger Games in the context of racism, but here we are.

AZM Ally Kenneth Lyons, Jr. writes in with word that apparently, there is a select group of people who saw the movie this past weekend who were surprised to see Amandla Stenberg play the character of Rue. In the book, Rue is described as having “dark brown skin and eyes” so to me it makes sense that cast someone who has, um, dark brown skin and eyes. Apparently, it doesn’t make sense to everyone.

Hunger Game Tweets popped up over the weekend to document tweets written by people who are incensed that Rue is black. Funny enough, some of these people actually read the book!

One of the powers of literary fiction is that your mind gets to cast the characters in any way you see fit. Sometimes, even if the description of a character is explicit, your mind swaps in your personal ideal. I guess some people read “brown skin and eyes” and thought, hey, Rue’s a cute little blond. I mean, I guess Snooki has brown skin, well, brown-orange skin. Were they thinking Rue was a Snooki with blond hair? So confused.

If there were no physical descriptions of skin tone in the book, I could more than understand the confusion. I don’t understand why it would ruin the movie, but I could understand some of the surprise. I think a few of the tweets that have been posted were ones of genuine surprise. Maybe some read the bit about Rue looking like Prim just glossed over the brown skin part.

I suspect that this reaction to Rue is a minority opinion. Until Kenneth sent over this tumblr, the only thing I ever heard about The Hunger Games was ZOMG FUCKING HUNGER GAMES HAVE YOU READ THE BOOKS THEY ARE THE AWESOME SAUCE HOLY SHIT THE MOVIE AND STUFF! A quick search of twitter now comes up with a whole lot of people making fun of those who are surprised that Rue is black. The box office numbers clearly indicate that more people did not have a problem with Rue than did. That gives me a lot of hope.

The Avatar Returns on April 14

I am so ridiculously excited for Legend of Korra! Bender-punk tech, metal benders, polar bear dog, fuck to the yes!

I’m kind of curious as to how this series got made. Certainly, fans wanted more when the original series ended. I wonder if Korra was always in the works and it’s just taken this long to bring it to life or if the live action Failbender had something to do with it. I’d hate to have to begrudgingly thank M. Night Shyamalan for helping reignite excitement for Airbender. I’d like to think that the fandom would have been there without the live action.

The Best Example of How NOT to Respond to Racism

This is K-pop song writer Jenny Hyun. You might think that she looks ready for a fun night on the town.

Nope.

She’s getting read to unleash a can of racism on motherfuckers!

AZM Ally Kensei Dave sent along this tragic tale of the dangers of tweeting while racist.

Jeremy Lin has been getting quite a lot of good press lately. But not everyone is impressed. Boxer Floyd Mayweather expressed his feelings of meh with a short tweet:

Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.

Now, when I think of important social commentary on issues of race and diversity, Floyd Mayweather is one of the last people I’d turn to. He hits people for a living. You think he has the mental capacity to formulate a cogent argument when analyzing the media treatment of an Asian American athlete? Honestly, who takes this guy seriously?

Apparently, Jenny does.

Break out the popcorn, folks, this is the story that just keeps on giving.

Instead of just ignoring Mayweather like the rest of us, Jenny got butthurt and unleashed a racist screed against ALL THE BLACKS:

Well, someone isn’t getting into the spirit of the Black history month.

Oh wait, there’s more. Shortly after her twitter tirade, she issued a non-apology:

You are threatening me with the fact that you know my address. You guys have also started to roar your engines every so often outside of my home. This is my official apology to the black community. I do not regret what I said, however, I now understand that there are some lines one cannot cross.

It seems like Jenny has been holding her hatred of ALL THE BLACKS inside for years. Mayweather’s ill-considered tweet was the final straw and Twitter was there for her to express her true, unfiltered feelings.

Oh wait, we’re not done yet? This was posted shortly after her non-apology:

Jenny Hyun has been admitted to a hospital today. She is a paranoid schizophrenic and has been battling mental illness, a debilitating disease for many years. Friends and family of Jenny want to extend their sincere apology for any harmful statements made verbally or via the web that Jenny has made while she was in the height of a psyshosis episode. We appreciate your understanding during this difficult time for her.

Dang.

So there’s been some speculation that this is just a front, that her people conceived of a way to get her quickly out of the spotlight before she damaged her career any further. Unfortunately, this story is at least a week old and we’re still talking about it.

Whether or not she’s mentally ill, I just have to ask, did you take offense to what she said? Here’s a no-name K-pop song writer who no one’s ever heard of saying some wildly outlandish bullshit that makes no fucking sense. Did you roll your eyes like me or did you clench your fist with great rage?

To me, this story is more about the power of social media than anything else. Before twitter, Jenny might have wrote a long winded rant in her journal that nobody would read. Or maybe she would have yelled at her friends about her hatred of ALL THE BLACKS. And not a shit would have been given. Thanks to twitter, now everyone is pissed off about someone who no one knows because she’s saying hateful shit. That’s kind of amazing.

From: Haps

Chink In the–You’re Fired

So I was chillin’ at Katsucon over the weekend admiring the cosplayers walking by and trying to figure out what a Home Stuck is when my good friend Dern turns to me with a face of anger that I hope his son will never witness and shows me this headline on his mobile phone:

Really? REALLY?

So it’s been a few days since the headline ran. The web editor who posted it has been fired, and apparently the news anchor who used the phrase on television is facing a 30 day suspension. Both the editor and the news anchor have said that their use of the phrase was unintentional. And Jeremy Lin himself has decided to let bygones be bygones.

But I’m still pissed.

The Jeremy Lin story has be framed in such a way that it makes it almost impossible to ignore his ethnicity. It should be something along the lines of, “Unnoticed talent rises from obscurity” rather than “Oh, shit! Asian kid got game!” To me, his story speaks more to problems of the NBA hype machine, that if you’re not already a huge name, you’re virtually ignored. Here’s a guy who was benched for games fighting for one of the last spots on the team. Hell, the Nicks were considering dropping him. And now look, they can’t stop talking about him!

It’s an amazing Cinderella story.

But the bit that gets emphasized is that he’s Asian. Now, I think it’s awesome that he’s Asian American and he’s kicking so much ass. But I don’t need the sports media to remind me every time they write about him. You know how I know he’s Asian? I can see him in the photo that they run with every story! But the press can’t stop themselves. I could almost believe that ESPN’s use of the “Chink in the Armor” headline was unintentional if they never made a big deal out of Jeremy Lin’s ethnicity. But it’s been a big deal to them since the start. “Well shit on me, who knew Asians could play basketball?” We got arms and legs, right? OF COURSE WE CAN FUCKING PLAY BASKETBALL!

You can write a story about a baller who was virtually ignored until given a chance. You can write a story about an Asian American baller who was virtually ignored until given a chance. But as soon as you make his ethnicity a big deal, you don’t get to claim ignorance when you “Chink” out like that.

Shanghai Calling

“They’re leaves in my tea.”

“That’s how we drink it.”

Clearly, I’m a sucker for romantic comedies. And though I’ve never spent any real time in Asia, I instantly identify with Sam played by Daniel Henney. He seems so absolutely lost in Shanghai. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a sexy piece of man meat.

Plus, there’s a guy named Awesome Wang. That is the most Awesome name in the entire universe!

No word on a release date, but I’ll be following this one. I hope it doesn’t disappoint me like White on Rice.

From: Shanghai Calling

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